Total Miles: 2187.9
First and foremost, a big Happy Birthday to my wife Emily. It's the first birthday of hers that I can ever recall not being there to celebrate with her, and it's a painful reality. She is the most supportive and loving partner I could ever have hoped for and today is her day.
When nearly 4 months have passed with only a single day of rain, it's hard to be too upset when the sun suddenly doesn't shine for a day. After a passing shower or two overnight, the sun had been chased from the sky and replaced by a thick layer of overcast and varying shades of gray in all directions. With Gazelle still behind us after taking a couple of days off in Portland to spend time with her boyfriend, Beardoh, Sweet Pea and I pressed on through an uneventful day on the thickly forested slopes of southern Washington. Despite the gray that hung from above, there were still beautiful sights to see: the quiet solitude of a stand of slender fir trees, and even this surprisingly large forest toad. Perhaps 4" long, he was one of the few signs of life on an otherwise dreary afternoon.
Although we avoided the rain all day, by the time we made camp on a high ridge and I crawled into my tent the drops had begun to fall. Delicately at first, then more and more insistently until the rain was playing a chorus on the tent fabric. It has been a sound that I've always found relaxing. With so much to see in this spectacular state, my only hope is that the weather doesn't linger too long. Welcome to the month of September in the Cascades, where summer and autumn collide, often with unpredictable results.